The New Ernst and Young Assessment Centre

1 November 2008 - 12:32am

The Ernst and Young Assessment Centre has completely changed format for the September 2009 intake. The basic difference is that the day is longer, with more tasks to complete. Also the Partner Interview now no longer takes place at the Assessment Centre and will occur only if you are successful at the Assessment Centre. Before you attend the day you are given a piece of research to complete, which you will need to bring along to the Assessment Centre as it is part of one of the tasks.

I had my Assessment Centre at the Birmingham Office for Audit UK&I, for a position at the Nottingham office. There was another person at the Assessment Centre who was applying for Tax so the process is the same for Assurance and Tax applicants. I don’t know whether the process is the same for Advisory and Corporate Finance but I assume it will be.

Assessment Centre

11.00am – The day started with an introduction by a member of the recruitment team, there was also a manager from both Tax and Assurance present. She explained the setup of the day and what tasks we would be undertaking. This was followed by a getting to know you session, where each person in the room gave their name, where they were from, what they were doing at the moment and what the best thing that had happened to them recently was. There were four of us in total who attended my Assessment Centre.

11.45am – The first task of the day used the research we had to prepare prior to attending the Assessment Centre. This is a team meeting between all the people at the Assessment Centre. You have to talk through what you have found and devise a plan as to how your manager should present a presentation on the area you have researched to a client. This task takes 45 minutes and for the last 10 minutes the managers will ask some questions to clarify any points you have made. For this task you must make sure you contribute without being over dominant. This is a test of teamwork so you must listen and try to incorporate everyone into the task. You should also make sure you manage your time well and achieve the objectives outlined in the brief.

12.30pm – For the second task we were given information on a company and a brief to follow. For this task you have to condense the information given to meet the brief. This is done on a laptop provided and all your work is saved onto a USB. You again have 45 minutes to complete this task and there are 8 pages of information provided. Effective time management is needed; however the information isn’t too difficult to understand. They just want to see that you can pick out the main points from the information and stick to the brief.

1.30pm – Following a 15 minute break for lunch, the third task was to plan a careers fair event which Ernst and Young will be part of. For this you are given a booklet which includes information on the event and people who can help you; this booklet is 6 pages long. You have to outline all the tasks which need to be completed, who you need to help you complete the tasks and a time frame for when the tasks need to be completed by. This task is only 30 minutes long and is again done on a laptop.

2.00pm – The next task tests your basic English skills. You are given a report which has been compiled by someone who supposedly works at EY. It is full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and you have to find these and highlight them; the report is five pages long. You are also asked to provide feedback to the person who wrote the report. You have to fill in a form as to how you will go about this and what you hope to achieve. This is followed by a 10 minute mock phone call to the person who wrote the report, played by one of the managers at the Assessment Centre. In this task you have to give feedback over the phone to help the person improve in the future. You have 30 minutes to proof read the report and 15 minutes for the phone call. For the phone call part of this task you need to give constructive feedback and make sure you reassure the person on the phone that s/he can improve.

3.00pm – Following another 15 minute break we had a numerical test. This is the PSL psychometric test and there are 32 questions to answer in 35 minutes. There is really not too much to add here, the questions get harder towards the end of the book. There are 3 diagrams or graphs on each page followed by between 3 and 5 questions relating to these diagrams. I didn’t answer all the questions but still passed the test, I recommend that you focus on getting the questions you attempt correct rather than completing them all but guessing most of them.

3.45pm – The final task of the day was a quick debrief by one of the managers at the Assessment Centre. There are 23 questions to answer and although they say this is informal it is just as important as any of the other tasks during the day. The questions include, How do you feel the day has gone? What have you learnt from today? What do you think was your best/worst task today? You are asked about each task and how you thought it went. My answers weren’t too long but they don’t need to be as long as you answer the questions honestly.

4.15pm – The day ended with the recruiter explaining what would happen next. She said if you were successful you would get a call by 10am the next day to provide feedback. However if you weren’t you would get an e-mail followed by a phone call to give feedback. We were then asked if we had any questions.

4.30am – End of the Assessment Centre.

I received a call at 10am the following day from the recruitment team to let me know I had been successful. I was given feedback on what I had done well and was told that somebody from the recruitment team would contact me soon to arrange the partner interview.

If anyone has any questions I will do my best to help.

Latest comments

  • 10 November 2008 - 2:40pm
    • _jonny

    sam16 - You are allowed a calculator for the numeracy test, I suggest you take your own so you are familiar with it. They do allow you to use your own calculator, but will also provide one for you if decide not to. I didn't do the EY online test so sorry I can't help you there.

    arcmoore - My partner interview is next Monday, so looks like your up first. From what I've read and from previous experience partner interviews aren't standardised. It will very much depend on the Partner who interviews you. That being said I would be very grateful and so would other applicants I would think if you could post ur experience of the Partner interview. I will do the same once I have had mine then we can see if they are standardised or not.

  • 10 November 2008 - 10:25am
    • arcmoore

    Jonny, when is ur partner interview, mine is this friday, if urs is before can u let me know what format and questions come up.... I will do the same if i have mine before u.

  • 7 November 2008 - 2:46pm
    • sam16

    Thanks for all your help. Just a quick question. Is the numeracy test very much similar to the EY online test? and are calculators allowed?

  • 6 November 2008 - 1:23pm
    • _jonny

    You don't have to draft an e-mail for the careers fair planning task. You do however for the second task, the summarizing task. For this task your asked to advise the new CEO of a recycling firm regarding four aspects on a brief using the booklet of information provided. As an extra part of this task your asked to draft an e-mail to the CEO of this company to invite him to give a speech to Graduates at an upcoming event. This is only a short task, I used about three sentences, it just takes up a bit of time from the rest of the task. It's quite easy and nothing to worry about.

  • 5 November 2008 - 10:22pm
    • einstine

    Jonny man I have a question for you for the careers fair thing are you supposed to draft a email or sth else can you be kind enough to tell more abt it. I have an assessment centre coming up soon

  • 5 November 2008 - 11:21am

    Thanks for doing some updates! I might try editing it a little later if I get a chance!


  • 4 November 2008 - 10:13pm
    • _jonny

    Don't know about the partner interview, for people applying to Assurance and Tax this comes after you have been successful at the Assessment Centre. Haven't had mine yet. Anybody know anything about the EY partner interview? Anyone had one yet?

  • 3 November 2008 - 7:16pm
    • sonyviao

    jonny- haha, yea, love the laptop... actually, couldn't think of any other name other than the one right in front of me! But thanks a ton for the interview advice....

    dzj0313- even i got a mail stating the normal format of the AC.... hence, really spazzed out when i read jonny's post about the format being changed. Reckon, its changed for grads applying for tax...

    Quick question- so the partner interview is largely competency based or a technical round? Really fretting over the fact that he/she is gonna take my case real bad... What should I mainly focus on?


  • 3 November 2008 - 6:08pm
    • _jonny

    The Ernst and Young Interview Questions page is now out of date but maybe only for Assurance and Tax. The page also says that the Tax Assessment day differs from the rest, however I had my Assessment day and there was a person applying to Tax there whilst I was applying to Assurance.

  • 3 November 2008 - 4:55pm

    Awesome post. Am I to understand the [[Ernst & Young Interview Questions]] page is now out of date? Extra brownie points for whoever fancies updating it! :-)

  • 3 November 2008 - 2:56pm
    • _jonny

    Sounds like the change in format of EY First Interview and Assessment Centre is just for Tax and Assurance then. dzj0313 maybe you could share ur experience of the Assessment Centre for people applying to EY CF or Business Advisory once uv been. Seem daft that they have two systems really but it is good that people are aware of this now.

  • 3 November 2008 - 4:45pm
    • dzj0313

    I will definitely write sth after the AC. But I think EY should make the assessment process more transparent.

  • 3 November 2008 - 1:21pm
    • Aingel6

    I spoke to a woman from HR and she said that for Tax and Assuarance the Assessment Centre has changed and is 'Strentghs based' - exactly the way Jonny described it, however it has not changed for the other service lines....

    Jonny thanks for all ur help, just curious, did u have to take an online numerical test as well as the paper test?

  • 3 November 2008 - 1:26pm
    • dzj0313

    Thank you very much for your post Aingel6! I will have an AC for Corporate Finance/TAS next week and was just worrying about the change in format....

  • 3 November 2008 - 1:05pm
    • _jonny

    Yeh that is how the Assessment Centre used to be. I can say that the format I outlined above is 100% the format of my Assessment Centre, which was 4 days ago. I spoke to the recruitment manager at the Assessment Centre and she said that this new process helped them gain a better overall perspective of a candidates strengths. I can't imagine that the Assessment Centres aren't standardised across the whole company. Does the e-mail you received say it is a Strengths Assessment Day? Which office are you applying to and which service line?

  • 3 November 2008 - 1:25pm
    • dzj0313

    Jonny, thanks for your reply. In the email, they just say it is "an Assessment Centre". I am applying for Corporate Finance/TAS in London. Actually for the 1st round interview, many people on Wiki said EY has taken a new approach, but mine was still the standard competency based interview just like before. I guess they are not changing their methods of assessment for Corporate Finance/TAS?

  • 3 November 2008 - 11:19am
    • dzj0313

    I received an email from HR about the details of the AC, which comprises of a second partner interview, a report writing exercise and a group discussion - still the same as before, I believe. Jonny, are you 100% sure that EY AC's are changing format this year? Thanks!

  • 2 November 2008 - 9:40pm
    • _jonny

    Aingel6 - I took the brief I was sent to mean CSR in general as did two of the other people at the AC. One person used figures on EY CSR. I would say CSR in general as for the task you are asked to help your manager decide how s/he should structure the presentation to a business group. You could use EY figures on CSR to back up why CSR is a good idea, its really up to you and not particularly that important as the task focuses more on how the information should be presented as opposed to the information you find itself.

    sonyviao - Firstly interesting name, do you have a particular affinity to your laptop? The case studies aren't really too difficult, don't worry about that. The only problem is they don't give you too much time to complete the tasks. The tasks basically test your ability to work in a team, condense information to include the most relevant parts, planing and organisation, grammar and spelling, numeracy and your ability to evaluate your on strengths and weaknesses. There really isn't much you can do to prepare, just make sure you practice for the numeracy test. The other tasks are subjective and there isn't much you can prepare for them. Make sure you are open and inclusive on the day, you are observed by managers whilst you are completing the tasks who will evaluate how you tackle the tasks and how you cope with the time constraints. I wasn't given the details of the day and don't think you will be as no one else at my AC were either. No commercial awareness is needed for the AC.

  • 2 February 2009 - 1:07am
    • pillay

    hi jonny,
    I have an assessment centre on wednesday and my topic for research is same as yours, the business benefits of CSR. I was just wondering whether u have to structure the presentation for the manager so that he can present it to the client. Like mayb an intro then the main benefits and facts to back it up. Or is it like just sharing your thoughts and views about the topic with your team?
    Any advice will be highly appreciated.
    thanks a lot..

  • 2 November 2008 - 7:01pm
    • sonyviao

    jonny, thanks a ton for the info... sounds really intense.. Are the case studies very hardcore? So the day involves two case studies, a PSL test and a report writing exercise? Any other tips on how to prepare for the AC? I've applied for Business Advisory and have my assessment centre this thursday.. the worst part is that they haven't mailed me the details of the day. Are you tested on commercial awareness that day?


  • 2 November 2008 - 1:40pm
    • _jonny

    Which office and service line are u applying for Aingel6?

    If the topic is kept the same which I presume it will be it is on The Business Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). I just typed that into Google and the first link that came up gave me everything I needed to know. You are also asked to find facts and figures on CSR, this is a little more difficult, I suggest checking on the

    When you get to the Assessment Centre and use the research the task is more about deciding how to present the information rather than what you have actually found out.

  • 2 November 2008 - 4:46pm
    • Aingel6

    I've applied for Tax in Manchester. When you say find facts and figures on CSR, do you mean EY's CSR or just in general?
    Thanks so much for your help.
    Good luck with ur partner interview.

  • 1 November 2008 - 9:33pm
    • londonbloke

    both pwc and kpmg is good and easy to pass through the recruitment process, the main part is the application form. just be yourself and apply. good luck!

  • 1 November 2008 - 7:44pm
    • Aingel6

    THanks so much for all that info, I had my first round interview on thursday and was told yesterday that I got through to the next stage so this post has been really helpful.
    Quick question, for the info u have to find before hand, how much do you need to research, is it a topic that is easly found on the internet?

  • 1 November 2008 - 6:40pm
    • _jonny

    The new EY process is longer but the tasks are by no means difficult, just time pressured. It also gives you more opportunity to show your strengths in different areas. This means if you do badly in one exercise you can make up for it in another. It is also expected that you do better at some exercises than others.

    I would agree that the PWC process is probably the easiest, with only the diagrammatic and numerical psychometric tests, an individual or group exercise and a partner interview. If you are weak in any of these areas however there is very little scope to make up for it elsewhere.

    One point I would make is that I found the EY numerical psychometric test harder than the PWC numerical test. EY use PSL tests at Assessment Centre, 32 questions in 35 minutes, PWC use SHL tests at Assessment Centre, 20 questions in 20 minutes.

  • 22 April 2011 - 9:24pm
    • ROC

    hi jonny - for the group exercise do u recommend going first? or is it just a general chat?

  • 1 November 2008 - 5:52pm
    • edinburgh_dave

    I didn't do KPMG but from reading on here PwC seems easiest. AC was just a group exercise without having to actually present the groups answers, doing the online tests again but on paper (apparently they are meant to be harder but if anything I found them easier), and a partner interview.
    No e-tray exercises, no company presentations

  • 1 November 2008 - 5:47pm
    • Uzairch

    I have no idea about PwC I am going for KPMG ... if PwC compared with KPMG which is an easy process to go through?

  • 1 November 2008 - 5:42pm
    • edinburgh_dave

    Haha I agree with you there Uzairch! PwC was much easier than that!
    Glad I didn't get to interviews and AC with EY as that all sounds far too stressful
    Good luck with your final interview _jonny

  • 1 November 2008 - 5:11pm
    • Uzairch

    OMG! what a complicated process, It clearly indicates EY is no longer interested in attracting applicants and wants to keep graduates away.